The opening scene springs on the viewers without warning, as four men in all-black suits walk on to the stage one by one to the sound of Arctic Monkeys, their unflinchingly dead-pan stares meeting various pairs of eyes in the audience. Meet Ralph, Les, Judd and Lucky Eric - the bouncers.
These four men – played by Marc Bolton, Matthew Booth, Jack Brady and James Hornsby - represent the entire cast, making the demands on the actors even higher. What follows is something that has to be seen to be believed. They are, quite simply, brilliant - switching effortlessly from the roles of the hard-nut bouncers to the lads on a night out, from the football ‘louts’ to the teenage girls, dressed up, glitzy handbags in tow and with exaggerated strut. Indeed, the actors’ depiction of the girls is a personal favourite – particularly their awkward dancing as they attempt to balance their handbags on their shoulders whilst ‘singing’ along to the pop songs on the decks. They have the audience in stitches. It is all so ‘true’ – how many of us have been there, or at least seen it?! The dialogue, meanwhile, with its witty one-liners, is impressively slick and convincing, and is testament to Godber’s award-winning writing.
For all its laugh-out-loud comedy, Bouncers has serious undertones, namely the vulnerability of young women and the dangerous bravado of men (the provocative ‘you’re soft’ a recurring line throughout). Perhaps more worrying is the fact that, since the birth of Bouncers 30 years ago, we can watch it today and realise that not much, if anything, has changed.
Go watch it – it’ll make your week.